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Oil prices plunge below zero as demand collapses amid pandemic

Oil prices plummet to record low amid coronavirus pandemic
Posted at 2:05 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 16:23:38-04

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Oil prices plunged below zero on Monday as demand for energy collapses amid the coronavirus pandemic and traders didn’t want to get stuck owning crude oil with nowhere to store it.

A barrel of benchmark U.S. oil for May delivery fell more than 100%. West Texas Intermediate's price per barrel settled at about negative $37, CNBC and Fox Business report. That means producers would pay traders to take the oil off their hands.

While the foray into negative territory was largely due to technical reasons, prices for other oil contracts also plummeted as storage facilities for crude come close to hitting their limits.

The S&P 500 was down 0.9%, giving up some of its big gains following its first back-to-back weekly gain since February.

Other stocks were mixed midday after Wall Street trimmed its sharp losses from earlier in the morning.

The S&P 500 started Monday with a drop of 1.6%, but it trimmed that down to 0.3% shortly before noon, Eastern time.

The Dow industrials were also down, but the Nasdaq composite was up slightly.

More buoyant gains for Netflix, Amazon and other stay-at-home winners in the coronavirus pandemic helped limit the market’s losses.